Prophets, Prophecy, and Ancient Israelite Historiography.

Author:Tuell, Steven S.
Position:Book review
 
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Prophets, Prophecy, and Ancient Israelite Historiography. Edited by Mark J. Boda and LlSSA M. Wray Beal. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013. Pp. xii + 400. $54.50.

As the editors of this collection observe in their introduction (p. vii), prophecy and historiography are often treated in isolation from one another. This is particularly odd, as Joshua through Kings are in Jewish Scripture included in the Nebi'im, and extended quotes from Kings are incorporated into Jeremiah and Isaiah. In this volume, eighteen scholars from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies/Societe canadienne des Etudes bibliques aim to redress this error, from two directions. The first part of the volume addresses prophets and prophecy in Israel's historiographical literature, while the second addresses historiographic concerns in prophetic and apocalyptic literature.

Six of the essays in part 1 (from Gordon Oeste, Mark J. Boda, J. Richard Middleton, John van Seters, Lissa M. Wray Beale, and K. L. Noll) address the Former Prophets, or the Deuteronomistic History, while the remaining six treat prophets and prophecy in Exodus (Bernon Lee), Chronicles (Paul S. Evans and Ehud ben Zvi), Ezra-Nehemiah (Lisbeth S. Fried and David Shepherd), and Hellenistic Jewish historiography from Jubilees to Josephus (Andrew W. Pitts).

Four essays in part 2 deal with historiographical concerns in Deutero-Isaiah (Danielle Duperreault), Jeremiah (Mark Leuchter), Ezekiel (Brian Peterson), and the Book of the Twelve (Grace Ko), while two deal with historiography in Daniel (Ralph J. Korner) and the Enochic Animal Apocalypse (Colin M. Toffelmire).

The reader should be aware that these studies in Israelite historiography do not always address Israelite history. Many of these essays pursue postcritical methodologies (e.g., the use of Bakhtinian analysis by Lee and Evans) and literary approaches to the texts (e.g., Oestes's literary treatment of Joshua, or Ko's synchronic reading of the Twelve) more interested in the world of the text itself than in recovering the historical realities behind it. Still, this collection navigates the divide between synchronic and diachronic methodologies quite nicely.

Indeed, Paul S. Evans deliberately addresses that end: "Rather than each of these criticisms [literary and historical-critical] ignoring scholarship based on different assumptions, biblical scholarship is in need of some way to translate the results of both paradigms into usable data" (p. 164). Evans...

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